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The Inflexible Captive A Tragedy, in Five Acts   By: (1745-1833)

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First Page:

THE INFLEXIBLE CAPTIVE:

A TRAGEDY. IN FIVE ACTS.

AS IT WAS ACTED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, AT BATH.

The man resolv'd, and steady to his trust, Inflexible to ill, and obstinately just.

Drawn from:

THE WORKS OF

HANNAH MORE.

VOL. II.

LONDON PRINTED FOR T. CADELL, STRAND 1830.

TO THE HONOURABLE MRS. BOSCAWEN.

MY DEAR MADAM,

It seems somewhat extraordinary that although with persons of great merit and delicacy no virtue stands in higher estimation than truth, yet, in such an address as the present, there would be some danger of offending them by a strict adherence to it; I mean by uttering truths so generally acknowledged, that every one, except the person addressed, would acquit the writer of flattery. And it will be a singular circumstance to see a Dedication without praise, to a lady possessed of every quality and accomplishment which can justly entitle her to it.

I am,

MY DEAR MADAM, With great respect, your most obedient, and very obliged humble servant,

THE AUTHOR.

THE ARGUMENT.

Among the great names which have done honour to antiquity in general, and to the Roman Republic in particular, that of Marcus Attilius Regulus has, by the general consent of all ages, been considered as one of the most splendid, since he not only sacrificed his labours, his liberty, and his life for the good of his country, but by a greatness of soul, almost peculiar to himself, contrived to make his very misfortunes contribute to that glorious end.

After the Romans had met with various successes in the first Punic war, under the command of Regulus, victory at length declared for the opposite party, the Roman army was totally overthrown, and Regulus himself taken prisoner, by Xantippus, a Lacedæmonian General in the service of the Carthaginians: the victorious enemy exulting in so important a conquest, kept him many years in close imprisonment, and loaded him with the most cruel indignities. They thought it was now in their power to make their own terms with Rome, and determined to send Regulus thither with their ambassador, to negotiate a peace, or at least an exchange of captives, thinking he would gladly persuade his countrymen to discontinue a war, which necessarily prolonged his captivity. They previously exacted from him an oath to return should his embassy prove unsuccessful; at the same time giving him to understand, that he must expect to suffer a cruel death if he failed in it; this they artfully intimated as the strongest motive for him to leave no means unattempted to accomplish their purpose.

At the unexpected arrival of this venerable hero, the Romans expressed the wildest transports of joy, and would have submitted to almost any conditions to procure his enlargement; but Regulus, so far from availing himself of his influence with the Senate to obtain any personal advantages, employed it to induce them to reject proposals so evidently tending to dishonour their country, declaring his fixed resolution to return to bondage and death, rather than violate his oath.

He at last extorted from them their consent; and departed amidst the tears of his family, the importunites of his friends, the applauses of the Senate, and the tumultuous opposition of the people; and, as a great poet of his own nation beautifully observes, "he embarked for Carthage as calm and unconcerned as if, on finishing the tedious law suits of his clients, he was retiring to Venafrian fields, or the sweet country of Tarentum."

==> This piece is, in many parts, a pretty close imitation of the Attilio Regolo of Metastasio, but enlarged and extended into a tragedy of five acts. Historical truth has in general been followed, except in some less essential instances, particularly that of placing the return of Regulus to Rome posterior to the death of his wife. The writer herself never considered the plot as sufficiently bustling and dramatic for representation... Continue reading book >>




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